Social media has made communication a little too easy, too fast, too dangerous. No, I’m not talking about inappropriate tweets and Facebook posts. I’m referring to the ease with which we can make honest mistakes in what we write in tweets and posts—typos and dropped words, for instance—and to the frequent absence of fact-checking.
One of the most common errors in judgment I’ve seen with PR professionals and journalists alike is the assumption of knowledge.
A common mental refrain: “Fact-check the congressman’s name? I don’t have to do that. I’m a veteran journalist.”
Another one: “Fact-check my client’s company name? They’ve been around for nearly a century. Everybody knows how to spell it.”
If you make a mistake in a Facebook post, you’ll hear about it instantly, and your credibility will suffer a (hopefully temporary) ding. And if you write the name “Andrew Weiner” in a tweet instead of “Anthony Weiner,” trying to chase that down and remove it from the twittersphere will be like trying to chase one’s toupee in a wind tunnel in March. It’s gone, real gone.
So my advice to you—and to myself—is to take it slow on social media. Think about what you’re writing, look it over and consider it engraving, not posting.